Tag Archive for 'problems'

Pop and violence?

Regardless of whether you call it soda, pop, or a soft drink, do you think it might cause violent behavior? In “Does Soda Cause Violence? Teens who drink soda may be more likely to get into fights and act violently,” Emily Sohn of Discovery News goes pretty far along the path to answering in the affirmative.

Teenagers who drink lots of soft drinks get into more fights and carry more weapons than their peers who drink less, found a new study.

And while the study couldn’t determine whether soft drinks actually cause violence, the findings add to a growing — yet still controversial — body of research on the effects of nutrition on behavior.
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Homegrown PBIS videos

My colleague Michael Kennedy promotes the creation of what he calls “homegrown videos” for helping explain appropriate behavior to students. They’re a fun way to get across the concepts associated with positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS). As Professor Kennedy explains in the caption, this is one of a series; they all use the PBIS language and concepts, but have student-view humor.

Bus Expectations: John Glenn HS from Michael Kennedy on Vimeo.

This video on appropriate behavior on the bus is one video in a series by Jacob Toarmina and his classmates from John Glenn High School in Michigan. This video was submitted by Deanna Strong, also from JGHS.

The others in this series are about classroom expectations, arrival and departure, cafeteria expectations, and hallway expectations. There are series of videos from other schools, as well. As one might suspect, they focus on the usual issues in schools (see situations just listed) and they have the usual themes for PBIS (e.g., respect, responsibility…).

There is even an Annual PBIS Film Festival at the national PBIS convention; schools submit videos they’ve created and people vote on which ones are the best examples in various categories (e.g., funniest, best music, best teaching of expectations, and so forth).

If you want to learn more, visit Professor Kennedy’s PBIS videos site, his Vimeo site where I snagged the movie here, or the section of Vimeo that is dedicated to PBIS videos. Of course, one can jump to the PBIS.org site (it’s over there is the sidebar, available any time).

Kudos for Artie Tyler

Artie Tyler drives a bus in the Frederick (MD, US) area, just a bit northwest of Washington, DC. According to a feature story by Marge Neal of the Frederick News-Post, Mr. Tyler made a difference in the behavior of the students on his buses, taking over challenging routes and turning them into successful rides for the students.

Eight minutes isn’t a lot of time.

But in eight-minute blocks of time, school bus driver Artie Tyler completes his rounds for more than 50 Monocacy Elementary School students each morning and afternoon. He does more than drive — he goes the distance.

“Artie is part of our staff here at Monocacy,” said school Principal Jason Anderson. “He’s concerned not only about their safety to and from school but their academic well-being as well.”

When he took over the routes, he reported that there were fights and other problems. To solve them, it seems that Mr. Tyler hit upon one of the basic tenets of behavior management. He started catching the kids being good. In Ms. Neal’s report Mr. Tyler said, “I worked closely with the school—these people are awesome. We came up with an incentive program that seems to be working.” He provided rewards and gradually stretched the required time for earning them.

Here’s a “Way to go!” Mr. Tyler and the local schools there approached this matter the right way. I am so glad they didn’t adopt the more common approach of passing out office discipline referrals for misbehavior on the bus. Stamp this one with a great big “W” for “winner!”

Read Ms. Neal’s story, “Monocacy school bus driver turns students’ behavior around” from 11 March 2011.

Another mistake on NR

Here’s another oopsie on “negative reinforcement.” This one is from a site that’s discussing the application of behavioral principles for the business environment, so it’s a little afield for us, but I’m throwing it into the pot anyway. At least it shows that it is not only we educators who make this mistake. In the article, the author N. Nayab (edited J. Scheid) gets several things right, but makes the usual confusion between negative reinforcement and punishment:

Skinner’s behavior modification theory holds that reinforcement, either positive, or negative shapes behavior. Providing positive reinforcement for changing behavior to desired levels through appropriate and effective rewards, and or providing negative reinforcement such as punishments or discouraging signals for undesired changes in behavior, or sticking to status quo helps employees make the appropriate behavior modifications.
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Why not only positives?

Teacher A: Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we didn’t have to use any aversive procedures. Punishment is such a drag.

Teacher B: Yes! I agree. Positive reinforcement is sooo powerful—shaping, schedules, maintenance, and all that. You can do just about everything with it.

Teacher A: Really. I mean, we should make our classes totally positive this year. No negatives. None!

As strongly as I advocate the use of positive strategies in classroom management (“Catch ’em being good!”), I have to acknowlege that there are at least three reasons it is impossible to create behavior management systems that exclusively employ positive reinforcement. Here’s why reasonable folks should resist the superficial appeal of the all-positive or positives-only Chimera.

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No spanking


Look under ‘posters & stickers’

I am pleased to call readers’ (both of you) attention to NoSpank.net. Although much of the advocacy presented there promotes parenting and teaching practices that have limited scientific bases, the organizing feature is a rejection of the use of physical violence as a disciplinary method. I support that effort.

There are at least 40-11 better alternatives, starting with teaching the child or youth what to do. More specifically and technically, here is a list of alternative methods for reducing the chances that a behavior will occur in the future:
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